Freital, a town of 39,000 inhabitants, can be found just a few kilometers southwest of Dresden, in Germany’s Saxony region. Perhaps best known as an industrial center, the emphasis on coal mining and steel goes back hundreds of years and is still apparent today.
Coal was first discovered here in the 1500s. At first, the townspeople didn’t realize the gold mine (or coal mine, that is!) that they had stumbled upon. Instead of extracting the mineral, they took only what they needed for their own fuel.
By the 1700s, the value of this fossil fuel was becoming more apparent. There was a fuel mandate passed, that gave each Freital citizen the rights to the coal found in his own backyard. The coal business had begun to boom until, strangely enough, the beginning of industrialization.
The Kingdom of Saxony had grown a bit envious of the town’s success. And so all the small businesses and farms were bought up and one large conglomerate was set up instead. It was the beginning of the modern economy for the small town, for good or bad.
The valley where all this mining has been done has given Freital the nickname of “the valley of work.” Yet it goes without saying that where there are valleys, there must also be hills or mountains. And that brings us to Freital’s biggest attraction.
The Wind Mountain (Windberg) is 356 meter or over 1,100 feet tall. This nature reserve provides gorgeous views of the surrounding areas. The forest of oak trees is covered in hiking trails that can lead you to the summit of the Wind Mountain.
The town of Freital lives in the shadow of this tall mountain and it is visible from many parts of the town. On a clear day, you might even be able to see a bit of Dresden. And if you do reach the top, be sure to check out the striking memorial to King Albert, the former King of Saxony.